For most Australians the end of Gillian Triggs’ tenure as the head of the ludicrously named Australia Human Rights Commission cannot come soon enough. She has abused her position to attack the government’s strong border security policy which is supported by the majority of Australians she is paid by.
Her most heinous act however is her contempt for the right to free speech in this country. She allowed the frivolous Queensland University of Technology 18C case to drag on for three years which when it finally came to the Federal Court the complaint was dismissed. Her Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane (who says you are racist if you can’t pronounce his long name) urged members of the public to launch 18C complaints against the late Bill Leak. During her speech to the Bob Brown Foundation she lamented that people still have free speech in their homes ‘Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home’.
Another bizarrely named organisation Liberty Victoria decided to troll true believers in free speech by awarding Gillian Triggs their annual Voltaire Award for free speech. The organisations stated they wanted to reward her ‘for her fearless work in pursuit of people’s rights, and her courage and persistence under extraordinary pressure’. If they mean speaking out against conservatives that is the easiest thing to do in Australia, try speaking as a conservative and you won’t get very far in high places.
Well Gillian Triggs is at again with her warped view on the meaning of free speech. This time she has defended the ANZAC Day remarks by Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied which drew widespread condemnation. Triggs believes the remarks were criticised not because they were inappropriate for ANZAC Day but because she was ‘a hijab-wearing Muslim woman’ and it was attempt ‘to constrain her right to freedom of speech’ and that criticism directed at Yassmin was part of ‘growing tolerance for demonising Muslims generally’.
There are so many things wrong with Triggs’ remarks it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all nobody was threatening the free speech of Yassmin, nobody seriously proposed locking her up for her moronic remarks just maybe suggesting she didn’t deserve our tax dollars out of all people. However part of free speech involves the right to criticise somebody when they make idiotic remarks such as Yassmin’s. The reason it would appear that hijab wearing Muslim woman are often criticised is because the mainstream media always wheels them out (Susan Carland is just the latest example) to give a false representation of Islam and make the claim it is a feminist religion.
Gillian Triggs by claiming that there is a tolerance for demonising Muslims seems to believe in the thin air argument, meaning that all of us decided to wake up one day and criticise Islam for no other reason other than it was religion followed by brown people and foreigners.
We are critical of Islam because of the constant terror attacks carried out in its name, the fact that Islamic countries are some of the most oppressive in the world, especially for women and other minorities and its hostility towards other religions. In fact a Muslim who has truly been demonised and threatened is Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi because he is against radical Islam and sharia law. Buddhism is a religion that is adhered by more people than Islam in Australia and mainly by non-whites yet we are not critical of it because it is actually a religion of peace.
Gillian Triggs also showed in her remarks her misunderstanding of free speech when she said “The Muslim community is disproportionately subject to ‘hate speech’ and discrimination in employment and the delivery of goods and services’’ and that 18C was “vital to the protection of all ethnic minorities in the community, against racial abuse and hate speech”. Hate speech is not a thing because its definition is subjective. The left considers most viewpoints they disagree with hate speech therefore they should be illegal, the rest of us however would consider it fair comment. No doubt there are many who would consider for example being in favour of traditional marriage as hate speech therefore it should be illegal.
By this stage, we shouldn’t be surprised that Gillian Triggs once again takes the side of those hostile to values of free speech and an open society. But we should still be outraged our government continues to pay her salary from our taxes as well as funding the whole Human Rights Commission. The sooner she becomes a private citizen the better. We only hope that the Turnbull government replaces her with somebody who truly understands freedom and doesn’t go with yet another safe appointment to please the media and the elites.